My generation of radical activists was inspired by Bob Dylan’s 1962 song, “Blowing in the Wind”.
How many times must the cannon balls [and drones] fly
Before they’re forever banned
The answer my friend is blowin´in in the wind.
With Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia’s victory against Western imperialism’s war, and the scandal of Watergate ending in the demise of Nixon’s presidency, the radical movement that swept through USamerica, and much of Europe died out. There have been social and economic protests from time to time since but a real radical movement with stamina has not reoccurred in the West. There were exceptions for some years with the war against Iraq particularly and somewhat that of Afghanistan, but the anti-war movement petered out especially when a black-faced man won the presidency in one of the world’s most racist and violent countries.
Then came the Arab Spring (2011) in Tunisia and Egypt! After hundreds of thousands of brave and determined people took over the streets, with several hundreds killed, the Western-backed national dictators were overthrown, only to be replaced by more momentarily palatable capitalist- authoritarian leaderships. Protests spread but when they hit other solid friends of the West, activists were brutally killed and beaten down. Then Libya was invaded, and now it is Syria’s turn.
Inspired by the Arab Spring, and tired of the eloquent emptiness of “I-have-a-drone” Obama, a new radical movement is taking root in USamerica. Occupy Wall Street (OWS) started on August 1, 2011 with nude artist protests on Wall Street and consolidated onward from September 17 by occupying Zuccotti Park in New York’s financial center. Its goal was/is anti-capitalist and for social and economic equality. After several months of occupying different symbols and centers of financial and political power, OWS lost its footing due to a combination of concentrated police violence and federal government spying, and its own lack of political direction—a political space to garner its tremendous energy and passion, and draw to it many millions of the 99%.
Occupy Wall Street’s dynamic grass roots movement has changed tactics but is not gone. In fact, it is reoccupying its original site of protest at Zuccotti Park. Since June 1, thousands gather in the park from 09:00 to 21:00 under the banner: “Occupy Homecoming”. Activists are creating a “movement center” by carrying signs of protest, holding talks and conducting relevant study courses.
Many activists are of Turkish background, and a key issue for all participants is the current Arab Spring movement for greater freedom and democracy in Turkey. One OWS slogan is “From Zuccotti to Gezi” (a park in Istanbul where activists gather). So far (June 10), the Zuccotti protesters have not been attacked by police, and many sleep in the nearby Trinity Church.